MLB Weekly Report: Mets’ David Wright Now Hitting .412 [VIDEO]
A quarter of the way through the 2012 MLB season, divisional races are starting to take shape. Meanwhile, several players are turning in incredible statistical years. Here's what's happening in Major League Baseball:
Mets' David Wright Hitting Over .400
Despite a recent lingering illness, New York Mets' third baseman David Wright is hitting .412 through 41 games. Wright had two hits on Sunday, including a two-run, first-inning double, in his team's 6-5 win over Toronto. The last major league player to hit over .400 was Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams, who hit .406 in 1941. Wright's Mets (22-19) are in third place in the NL East, just 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves.
L.A. Dodgers Sweep Cardinals
Pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning on Sunday night to give the Los Angeles Dodgers a three-game sweep of the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals. The victory gave the Dodgers the best record in the majors at 28-13. Manager Don Mattingly's team is 15 games over .500 and leads second-place San Francisco by seven games in the NL West.
Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander Toss Gems At Pirates
Detroit Tigers' pitcher Max Scherzer struck out 15 in just seven innings on Sunday in his team's 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The victory gave Detroit a 2-1 interleague series win. On Friday, Tigers' ace Justin Verlander lost a bid for his third career no-hitter with one out in the ninth inning as Detroit beat the Pirates 6-0. Verlander's 12-strike out performance left him at 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA this season. The Tigers (20-21) are in third place in the AL Central, three games back of Cleveland.
TBS To Broadcast Wild Card Games
Major League Baseball announced Thursday that TBS will broadcast the two, new Wild Card playoff games this year and in 2013. As announced by MLB this past off-season, two wild card teams in each league will duel in a one-game playoff to advance to the next round of the MLB post-season. Also, two Division Series games in the 2012 and 2013 postseasons will be moved from TBS to MLB Network.
Play of the Week: Juan Pierre, Philadelphia Phillies
In his first year in Philadelphia, veteran outfielder Juan Pierre is contributing to the Phillies in several ways. Most recently, these two catches against the Chicago Cubs' Bryan LaHair on Thursday night helped the Phillies get back over .500 at 20-19. Click the arrow to watch video of the two great catches:
In the first inning:
In the seventh inning:
Upcoming Series To Watch: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies
Washington has been trying to build a rivalry with Philadelphia for years. It looks as though their wish has been granted. The Nationals will come into the three-game series in Philadelphia on Monday in second place in the NL East, three-and-a-half games ahead of the Phillies. The last time these two teams faced each other, the Phillies' Cole Hamels intentionally threw at Nationals' rookie Bryce Harper, who subsequently stole home. Hamels was suspended for admitting the bean ball, while the notoriously partisan Philadelphia fans have marked the cocky Harper as a target of their legendary ire in advance of his first appearance at Citizens Bank Park.
Fantasy Player to Add: Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds' reliever Aroldis Chapman earned his first save of the season on Sunday in his team's 5-2 win over the Yankees. With a 100-plus mph fastball, Chapman has been devastating hitters in 2012. In 22.1 innings pitched, he's 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 39 strikeouts, allowing just seven hits. Now finally getting saves as the Reds' closer, Chapman's numbers can do nothing but help your staff.
Fantasy Player to Drop: Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
After back-to-back 20-homer seasons for the Brewers, second baseman Rickie Weeks was thought of as a power-hitting middle infielder that Milwaukee could count on in 2012. Instead, Weeks has stumbled, hitting just .154 for the Brewers with four home runs and seven runs-batted-in. Weeks' bad luck got him dropped to sixth in the lineup, and he didn't play at all on Sunday, when the Brewers pelted the Twins 16-4.
Around MLB: Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper Homer; Kerry Wood Retires; Brett Lawrie Suspended
Washington Nationals' starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (4-1, 2.93), who has been dominant on the mound this season, hit his first major league home run during his team's 9-3 win over the Orioles on Sunday. Teammate Bryce Harper hit his first career home run in an 8-5 Washington win over San Diego on Monday. At 19 years and 211 days, Harper became the youngest major leaguer to homer since Adrian Beltre in 1998…. Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielder Matt Kemp went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring after Monday night's game. Prior to the injury, Kemp had played in 399 consecutive games, the most by an active player. Detroit Tigers' first baseman Prince Fielder took over the mantle with 217 consecutive games played as of Wednesday….Chicago Cubs' pitcher Kerry Wood retired on Friday after striking out the only batter he faced at Wrigley Field. The oft-injured Wood, who had been dominant at times during his 14-plus years in baseball, was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1998 and a two-time all-star… Philadelphia Phillies' manager Charlie Manuel and umpire Bob Davidson, were each suspended for one game by Major League Baseball after their heated argument on field in Philadelphia during Tuesday's Phillies-Astros game…The New York Mets will host the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field in Queens, MLB announced on Wednesday. It's the first time the Mets have hosted the mid-season classic since 1964 at Shea Stadium….Toronto Blue Jays' third-baseman Brett Lawrie was given a four-game suspension and fined after he charged umpire Bill Miller on Tuesday. Miller was also struck by a helmet thrown by Lawrie during the melee during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays.