MLB Season Review
Well, the temperature is beginning to dip, leaves are beginning to change colors, and the football season is in full swing. Sadly, this means that the baseball regular season has come to an end.
But what a season it was.
Filled with high expectations and broken hearts, baseball again proved to us that it is never over until the home team gets its last at bat. Unfortunately for Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves fans, they learned this the hard way.
Some may say that baseball can be unnecessarily cruel to its fans at some points, others might say that is why we all watch. But no matter your allegiance, the comebacks of the Tampa Bay Rays and the St. Louis Cardinals were some of the most impressive the sport has ever seen. Both teams were down at least 8.5 games to start September, but with a little help from the Red Sox and Braves both teams found themselves playing in October.
The collapse of the Red Sox was especially impressive considering the money they spent in the off-season. With the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford the Red Sox looked like the team to beat at the start of the season. Some were even predicting them to win over 100 games, but right from the start they showed signs that they would not live up to their potential. And although the Red Sox played well after their 0 and 6 start, they were not able to finish what was a postseason-worthy regular season, and they find them selves in the same position as the Pirates, Royals, and Mariners--watching the playoffs from the stands.
Baseball continued to be a pitcher-friendly league. The top eight pitchers in each league finished with and Earned Run Average (ERA) less than 3.00, and 14 pitchers finished with at least 200 strikeouts [Eight pitchers with at least 220]. Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers had the best year of his young career, finishing with a record of 21 wins and only 5 losses, a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Not to be outdone, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers led his team into the playoffs with a Cy Young worthy season. Verlander finished with a record of 24 and 5, a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts.
Although pitching was clearly the highlight of the season statistically, a few hitters put up impressive numbers. Jacoby Ellsbury put up huge numbers, and at some points was considered an MVP candidate. One of the few positives to be found in the Red Sox Season, Ellsbury hit .321 out of the lead off spot. Ellsbury also hit 32 home runs, more than tripling his previous career high, and he hit 105 RBI to add to an already impressive season .
New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson had a season resembling that of the Great Bambino, hitting 41 taters and 119 runs driven in. Matt Kemp of the Dodgers had a late shot at the triple crown, a feat rarely seen in baseball. Although he was not able to come up with the first triple crown season since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, Kemp still finished with the best statistics of any hitter in the game. Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit over 100 RBI for the first time of his career, although he will most likely have to improve on his year if he wishes to lead his team to the playoffs next year.
The Rockies had a disappointing year, as many had predicted them to make the playoffs, although their troubles were likely aided by injures to many of their key players. The San Fransisco Giants also had a sub-par year, as they were not able to follow up their World Series victory of 2010 with a playoff birth. The Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and Minnesota Twins were also unable to build on their 2010 postseason births as all three failed to make the playoffs.
Fans from eights cities get to watch their teams in the playoffs while the rest of the country will have to enjoy the off season keeping themselves busy with other, less-important sports. Luckily, there is always drama surrounding the baseball off season with free agents signing in new places and teams trading players. Who knows, maybe the Red Sox will spend another 100 million dollars, which, as we have learned from this season, will inevitably lead to them winning the World Series. Oh wait...