Posts Tagged ‘MLB’

Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals made his highly anticipated debut last night and he didn’t disappoint. He pitched seven innings, gave up four hits, two earn runs, and struck out fourteen.  What was really impressive is that he had zero walks.  For a rookie pitcher to be able to allow no walks in his very first major league start shows a lot of poise and control.

            Strasburg has been one of the most hyped baseball players in recent history.  Each and everyone one of his eleven minor league starts have gained tons of attention along with a lot of scrutiny.  This hype however began long before he stepped on a minor league mound.  He first gained notoriety while pitching for the San Diego State Aztecs. There he was known as the guy who threw fastballs at 100 miles per hour with ease and had possessed an incredible breaking ball.  It seemed liked he was toying with the collegiate athletes at times by seemingly throwing with ease.

 All of this culminated to a first overall selection by the Washington Nationals in last year’s draft.  Many experts thought that Strasburg was ready to start in the major leagues right away, however the Nationals thought that it would better for him to work in the minor leagues for a while before bringing him up to the majors.  In his eleven starts in the minor leagues he was 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA, with 65 strikeouts and had only 13 walks.

All of this lead up to last nights game with a sold out crowd on hand to watch Strasburg’s first start. For at least one night he exceeded expectations.  To strikeout fourteen major league batters in your very first major league start is impressive.  Within those strikeouts he seemed to over match the Pittsburgh Pirates with high 90s fastballs with movement and breaking pitches that buckled the knees of some of their batters.

Strasburg pitched a phenomenal game, however before he is anointed the best pitcher in baseball and before he is put in the baseball hall of fame can we just see how he pitches in his next start and for the rest of the season?  As a sports society we are so quick to put the “best” title on someone before they can establish themselves.  Please let’s allow Strasburg to have at least a few more starts before we drool all over him. 

 He had a very good game, but to play devil’s advocate for a second he did face the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Coming into last night’s game they were statistically the worst offensive team in the majors.  So it wasn’t like he faced the Yankees or the Red Sox.  The Pirates right now are the equivalent of a minor team and they didn’t pose as too much of a threat to him.  Regardless of whom he faced last night he pitched really good.  His next start is against the Cleveland Indians and only time will tell just how good Strasburg will be.

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            Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was just one out away from history.  26 consecutive batters had been retired in order.  One more out and Galarraga would’ve been a part of a elite class of pitchers to toss a perfect game.  This feat has been accomplished only 20 times in MLB’s storied history and Galarraga would’ve been the third pitcher to toss a perfect game in this season alone.

So when Cleveland Indians shortstop Jason Donald hit a soft grounder to first baseman Miguel Cabrera it seemed that Galarraga was now just a soft toss away from a perfect game.  Galarraga sprinted to the first base bag, caught the ball, and stepped on the base before Donald reached the bag.  Umpire Jim Joyce waited for a split second and then proceeded to call the runner SAFE!

 The Detroit Tigers stood around in disbelief.  Every single person on that field and sitting in that stadium couldn’t believe that the umpire called the runner safe.  What made matters worse was the fact that not only was Donald clearly out, but now TV replays showed that the umpire got the call wrong. This same replay would now be shown all over major new networks.

After the Tigers argued with the umpires they finally resumed play.  Galarraga stepped up to the mound and quickly retired the next batter to the end the game with a complete game shutout with only one hit allowed.  The perfect game was spoiled by umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly calling runner safe. 

I Couldn't Believe It Either Miguel.

 Umpire blown calls have been a controversial topic for the past few years in baseball. Many people have called for the extended use of instant replay to correct mistakes such as these.  MLB has already implemented the use of instant replays but only for disputed home run calls; however after several questionable calls during the playoffs last season this new incident only adds fuel to the instant replay fire. 

I understand that we are all human and we will make mistakes and Jim Joyce isn’t the only umpire that will miss a call this season. 

That is fine but is it me or does it seem like umpires are missing more calls now more than ever? Not necessarily.  Believe me umpires have been making gaffes for decades; however we now live in different times.  Technology has changed the landscape of sports.  There are many more cameras at stadiums now than there were in the 60s and 70s.  These cameras now have the capabilities to get various angles to show replays in high definition that viewers living in the 80s never had the opportunity see. 

If there is a questionable call now, networks have the technology to be able to show the replay at various levels and various speeds all in high definition television.  So umpires have been making incorrect calls for years, but it isn’t until recently that we can actually see their mistakes.  Technology has changed the way we watch our games so it should now be allowed change the way umpires officiate a game.

I can’t sit here a say that instant replay is going to solve baseball’s problems.  How MLB will incorporate instant replay into games is another discussion; however I do know that until MLB corrects this issue of incorrect calls that this topic of instant replay will not go away.