2009 and Bryce Harper

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2009 and Bryce Harper

Postby elaine95 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:08 am

The competition level will drop considerably for the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates when they open a three-game series Monday with a holiday matinee at PNC Park.In addition Jose Bautista Jersey , the stakes will remain fairly pedestrian between the two National League Central also-rans.Cincinnati (59-78) will be playing the final three games of 16 in a row within the division. The Reds are 4-9 so far in that stretch but got a boost from winning two of three against St. Louis over the weekend, including a 6-4, 10-inning win Sunday.Article continues below ...“This series we played better, and we got a W, we got a series (win),” Eugenio Suarez told Fox Sports Ohio after he hit a winning two-run homer, giving him 100 RBIs.Even with a sweep of this series, the last-place Reds would be hard-pressed to catch the fourth-place Pirates in the division but can continue to build for the future.“We’re trying to turn the page from a terrible August and see if we can play better baseball in September and take that into the offseason and into spring training — just get back to winning baseball,” Cincinnati manager Jim Riggleman said.“We want to win games. We don’t care who the opposition is or whether it’s against any of these three (previous) teams competing for playoff spots. We’re not out there trying to spoil their hopes; we just want to win games for ourselves.”There won’t be much the Reds could spoil for the Pirates anyway.Their carrot would seem to be finishing above .500.Pittsburgh (66-71) was 3-6 on a road trip against Milwaukee, St. Louis and Atlanta, and was 2-5 on a preceding homestand against Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs, making it five straight series against clubs holding a playoff spot.The Pirates are coming off a 5-1 loss Sunday to the Braves.In the series opener, Cincinnati right-hander Matt Harvey (6-7, 4.97 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh righty Trevor Williams (11-9, 3.30 ERA).Williams seemingly is vying for the title of Pirates ace, particularly with his performance since the All-Star break, going 4-2 with a 0.84 ERA in seven starts. Over his past eight starts, he has allowed four runs.Wednesday, Williams pitched six scoreless innings and struck out a career-high eight in Pittsburgh’s 2-0 win at St. Louis.Before his strong stretch, over nine starts he had a 7.02 ERA and competed six innings three times.“It’s fight or flight, really. I didn’t want that to define me this year,” said Williams, who leads Pittsburgh’s starters in ERA and with a 1.19 WHIP. “It was really taking that second half and making the most out of it Troy Tulowitzki Jersey , where I give our team the best chance to win every five days and execute my pitches and keep the guys in the ballgame.”Against Cincinnati, Williams is 2-1 with a 4.73 ERA in seven career appearances, four of them starts.Harvey is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his past four starts.Wednesday against Milwaukee, he did not get a decision in a 13-12 extra-inning loss. Harvey struck out six and walked none in four innings but gave up five runs and 11 hits.In eight career starts against Pittsburgh, he is 2-6 with a 6.12 ERA. The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced the finalists for each major MLB award earlier this week, including the three players in the running for the AL and NL MVP awards.In the American League, Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez and Los Angeles Angeles center fielder Mike Trout finished in the top three in the balloting.On the National League side, it was Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez and Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich as the leading vote-getters.With the field now trimmed to three, it's time for some updated look at each MLB race, complete with odds and predictions.AL MVPMookie BettsBillie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesOddsMookie Betts, RF, Boston Red Sox: 1-4Mike Trout, CF, Los Angeles Angels: 17-3Jose Ramirez, 2B/3B, Cleveland Indians: 19-1Stat ComparisonBetts:186 OPS+, 84 XBH (32 HR), 80 RBI, 129 R, 30 SB, 10.9 WARRamirez:150 OPS+ Marcus Stroman Jersey , 81 XBH (39 HR), 105 RBI, 110 R, 34 SB, 7.9 WARTrout:199 OPS+, 67 XBH (39 HR), 79 RBI, 101 R, 24 SB, 10.2 WAROutlookMLB MLBYour 2018 AL MVP finalists:mookiebettsmrlaparaMikeTrout xLG3flO3CkBetts was runner-up to Trout in the 2016 voting, and those two will dominate the balloting once again this year.However, it's Betts who is the clear front-runner this time around.The 26-year-old led the AL in batting average (.346), slugging percentage (.640) and runs scored (129) as one of the driving forces behind a juggernaut offense in Boston.With 30 steals and 32 home runs, he was one of just two 30/30 players around baseball this year.Betts was also his usual brilliant self defensively in right field, tallying 20 DRS with a 21.1 UZR/150 to win his third straight Gold Glove Award.Mike TroutMasterpress/Getty ImagesWhile Trout had another excellent season鈥攍eading the AL in walks (122), on-base percentage (.460), OPS (1.088) and OPS+ (199)鈥攈e did it while playing for sub-.500 Angels team that finished a distant fourth in the AL West.Fair or not, playing for a winning team still factors heavily into the voting.After finishing third in the voting a year ago, Ramirez actuallyimproved in a number of statistical categories, including OPS+ (145 to 150), home runs (29 to 39), RBI (83 to 105) and steals (17 to 34), to join Betts as a 30/30 player.However http://www.bluejaysfanproshop.com/authentic-devon-travis-jersey , a case can be made that he wasn't even the best player on his own team, as Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (131 OPS+, 38 HR, 92 RBI, 25 SB, 7.9 WAR) is headed for a top-10 finish in the voting as well.In the end, the biggest surprise on the AL side was that Ramirez finished ahead of Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez, whohit .330/.402/.629 with 37 doubles, 43 home runs and an AL-leading 130 RBI.Prediction:Betts wins AL MVPNL MVPChristian YelichMorry Gash/Associated PressOddsChristian Yelich, LF, Milwaukee Brewers: 1-9Javier Baez, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs: 23-2Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies: 49-1Stat ComparisonArenado:133 OPS+, 78 XBH (38 HR), 110 RBI, 104 R, 2 SB, 5.6 WARBaez:126 OPS+, 83 XBH (34 HR), 111 RBI, 101 R http://www.bluejaysfanproshop.com/authentic-roy-halladay-jersey , 21 SB,6.3 WARYelich:164 OPS+, 77 XBH (36 HR), 110 RBI, 118 R, 22 SB, 7.6 WAROutlookMLB MLBYour 2018 NL MVP finalists:Nolan Arenadojavy23baezChristianYelich CulW8H0IyjYelich has garnered MVP votes just once in his career, finishing 19th in the balloting back in 2016.That speaks to the significant strides he made this season in his first year with the Brewers, as he helped lead Milwaukee to a surprise NL Central title.The 26-year-old won the NL batting title and finished two home runs and one RBI away from winning the Triple Crown.An otherworldly month of September where he hit .370/.508/.804 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI in 27 games helped the Brewers chase down the Cubs in the standings and solidified his standing as the MVP front-runner.At this point, the question is not whether he'll win the award. It's whether he'll win it unanimously.There have been just two unanimous NL winners in the past 15 years鈥擜lbert Pujols in 2009 and Bryce Harper in 2015.Javier BaezJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBaez should scoop up the majority of the second-place votes after turning in a breakout season with the Cubs.The free-swinging infielder showed a slightly more refined approach at the plate, trimming his strikeout rate (28.3 to 25.9 percent) and improving his hard-contact rate (32.4 to 35.8 percent) in the process.His quick-twitch athleticism was still on full display on a daily basis, though, as he was a game-changer on the basepaths and defensively at second base and shortstop, along with his gaudy offensive numbers.Arenado edged out the likes of Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter to finish third in the voting.As usual, he filled up the stat sheet while playing excellent defense at third base for a contending Rockies team.However, his dramatic home (1.105 OPS, 23 HR, 62 RBI) and road (.772 OPS, 15 HR, 48 RBI) splits water down his overall stat line.Prediction:Yelich wins NL MVP unanimouslyAll stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.
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