While much of the nation has shared a snicker or two about the Phillies’ post-All-Star Game success, apparently amazed that a team that drifted more than 30 games below .500 somehow managed to go 16-6 right out of the chute after the break, the real, honest-to-goodness news in baseball circles is the emergence of Toronto as a legit playoff contender in recent weeks.
In picking up shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and ace left-hander David Price, the Blue Jays suddenly went from nice team to “whoa, watch out for them.” Not only are they 11-2 since completing those deals, sweeping the AL East-leading Yankees in the process, in NYC to boot, but they’ve jumped to the front of the Junior Circuit’s wild-card standings.
The arrival of two major stars seems to have ignited those who already were in the Toronto locker room. Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista have been on fire of late, unloading game-changing blasts on almost a daily basis. The former may have pushed himself into MVP contention and the latter certainly has brought to life his “Joey Bats” nickname.
- Though he’s a little older than baseball prodigies Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt may be a guy fans want to start paying some mind. Only in his fourth season, the 27-year-old is a three-time all-star and, frankly, compares quite favorably with the other two. For every 162 games, this is what these guys average:
Goldschmidt, .301 batting, .395 on-base, .533 slugging, 30 homers, 108 RBIs, 102 runs scored.
Trout, .305, .396, .560, 35, 101, 122.
Harper, .285, .376, .505, 29, 76, 101.
- Not sure how ESPN explains Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich failing to make its list of top 100 players in college football. He’s only the game’s top career tackler set to start 2015 and can become just the seventh NCAA player to top 100 tackles in each of his four seasons. Oh yeah, he also happens to play for one of the nation’s top defense.
- Cam Newton and Geno Smith are involved in on-field altercations on back-to-back days … just what in the name of NFL quarterbacks is going on here? Somehow it seems appropriate that Newton emerged unscathed, but still took some verbal shots, while Smith will be out 6-10 weeks.
- Is it just me, or is the rush to “save” Tom Brady by every celebrity and no name on the planet the most pathetic, or misdirected, display of hero worship – unnecessary hero worship – ever? Guess I’m failing to see the hardship and hard luck a millionaire many times over with four rings has incurred.
- According to Illinois d-back V’Angelo Bentley, head coach Tim Beckman travels to Philly a lot, chats with Eagles staff, and brings back secondary-play wisdom to be utilized by Bentley and his fellow Illini. Going by the poor pass defense by both teams, very little has been lost in translation.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org