It has been an exciting summer for us! Despite a ton of rain outs, losing a team, and a couple of other issues, this has been a season to remember.
The Phillies led by Alen Kalic have made a splash. In the second half of the year, they have been picking up the pace. Rookie Edin Hazimuratovic has been a good rookie. Despite the finesse numbers like average, low strikeouts, and hit totals being a bit low. His home run numbers are good for fifth in the league at 12. The number that is most surprising is that he picked up his fifth win last week and lost a tough 4-0 game against last year’s CY Young winner, Josh Camp. 5 wins is good for second on the Phillies behind ace, Dakota Jackson. This rookie has definitely made an impact there and in the field makes some Ozzie Smith moves for catches. He has 6 unassisted double plays this year. Team captain, Alen Kalic, is having a career year at the plate. Over 100 RBI’s, over .400 AVG., and three walk-off home runs with his most recent against the Yankees in last week’s 11-10, eight inning thriller. Last night, He passed a career in strikeouts with 60 despite some run support issues on the mound. The Phillies have even brought a new rookie. Kind of like a September call up for us, and hopefully he sticks around.
The Pirates have some chemistry. Currently clinging onto second place, claiming Josh Camp, and super MVP-esque year from Anthony Gadani has made this team, a team to watch. Gadani is sitting on a league leading 35 homers, a .400+ batting average, close to 100 RBI’s, and that’s just at the plate. On the Mound he’s got 9 wins, 106 K’s, and a low 3 ERA. All of those numbers are the highest he has had since the 2008 season. Take a look at those numbers and you will be wow’ed. Records and milestones have been met. Gadani has hopped two people this year to get to sixth on the all time list for home runs and Jorge claimed his 10,000th career hit. Both players as pitchers are closing in on significant milestones. Gadani is three wins away from 100 career wins and Jorge is eight wins away from 600 career wins. Kyle Girgenti has shown improvement in the power department, flirting with passing his career high in home runs of 16. Time will tell what comes of those but the Pirates have their eye on their first WS title since 2015.
The Yankees are dominating in a lot of aspects. This team is a well matured team and the whole league wants a piece of them. Ilyadis is having a bounce back year on the mound with a 13-3 record to this point and a sub 3.5 ERA. He hit his pitching milestone against the Pirates recording his 4000th career strikeout. Although a little off of pace in the home run department this year and currently in one of the tightest, and latest home run races to date with Gadani, the offensive numbers are still there. 31 homers, 120+ RBI’s, and a .641 batting average. Zach Kean is having another one of his years. Power numbers are down a little bit but the patience, runs scored, and a close to .500 batting average makes him a lethal weapon on offense. The Yankees hope he can get back to his ways on the mound. Although, he is 6-3 on the year and has never lost more than three games in 9 seasons. The Yankees hope he can prove to be a great second starter in that rotation come playoff time. He has the stuff, and at times when it is on, is arguably the best in the league with his slider, fastball combination. The ace, and young phenom of the staff Michael Murray is showing up thus far in his senior year campaign. He is 8-1 with 3 saves (second to Ilyadis who has 4 saves), and a 0.46 ERA which leads the league and could be a league record. He has completed his arsenal and has shown he is tough with three wins against Josh Camp, two wins against Dakota, and two wins against Gadani. But beyond that, the stats that are overlooked are his heroics. He like Alen has been clutch but closet clutch. He has two walk-off home runs this year (Alen Kalic has 3), and for the third season in a row has at least ten home runs. The Yankees do need his batting average up a little bit and definitely require his presence for the big games. With him showing up, the Yankees add depth at pitching and it allows Murray to stack up his resume in the league. For two straight years, he has had quality pitching numbers but has fell short in the CY Young voting. Could this be the year of change? Pat Lasch has also been a great addition for the Yankees. Going through a bit of a mid season slump, has recently come out and started raking. He is now over .400 for hitting and is a severe doubles threat on the base paths.
The next three weeks are going to be a ride. The Phillies could come back and take second place from the Pirates. A potential first round match up between these two teams would be something to watch if they have their players. You could have Camp vs. Jackson, Gadani vs. Edin, and Alen vs. Jorge. These are pretty good pitching match ups and all of these players know each other very well. The team that seems like they can make the run is the Pirates. They’re scrappy enough to score runs and have definitely had the consistent pitching this year. The first round of the playoffs is set to be starting on September 14th. That series will be a best of five series. We also need to pay attention to the MVP races, CY Young races, and that home run race between Gadani and Ilyadis. Ilyadis has a few games to catch up to Gadani but both vets ave shown no signs of stopping.