Summer Solstice by Bob Ryan

summer solsticeSure it’s been hot and dry already but summer is officially starting today…to me, summer always started when school ended ….no sir…it’s starting today. As June 20 arrives, changes take place in the sports world….here we go…

 

Changes that come along as summer starts …

…a rare event in nature as the Full Moon rises on the same day as the Summer Solstice…an event not seen for nearly 70 years

 

…the winter sports seasons (that start in October) roll to an end in the recent past…

…The NHL finished a couple weeks ago as the Pittsburgh Penguins prevented San Jose from snatching their 1st title..usually I root for the team that beats my hometown boys (I think it makes our team look better – to have lost to the champs)..but not this time….San Jose seemed dirty to me so I was pleased although…I must admit…I watched only a tiny amount of hockey after the Blues were bumped from the playoffs….apparently.. I wasn’t the only one as the viewing numbers of the NHL finals in the Lou were but crumbs compared to the robust numbers following the Blues post-season games

… In the NBA, the mano-mano matchup of James vs Curry brought some life to the playoffs. Lebron James was really incredible in game 7 as he powered..almost single handedly..the Cavs to the title. He was clearly the man. This was different for him…at least to me…@ Miami it seemed that he formed a posse to snatch the NBA title from the league…which it seemed to me.. made him appear that he felt he couldn’t do it alone. This title was the LeBron James title…on the other hand…was does it say about Golden State?…their regular season record was one of the best ever recorded…but .. as we know from the Blues…regular season performance means next to nothing.

 

…2ndgolf major of the year..

…Dustin Johnson pushes aside the “choker” title and wins a major with ease in the US Open. I, generally, only watch golf when the majors occur so I’m not a real big fan but it seems to me in the past couple years that Johnson has been at the top of several tourneys in the 2nd/3rd round only to falter…this year he finished strong while the winds of losing a stroke hovered around him…btw…his wife is the daughter of Wayne Gretzky ! I did like the “tail” of the ball as the golfer drives it off the tee…helped one realize how far and accurately these men are driving the ball.

 

…on the baseball front

…the Memphis express continues to swap players with the Cards like they were baseball cards back in the day…I can’t imagine that in just 10 days @ a minor league team could change around a struggling, shaken player in a new positions so dramatically that the major league team would “call him back” so soon.   Crash course, heh? He WAS crushing the ball @ Memphis and he does appear to be more aggressive at the plate since his return but really (did you get the tone there), 10 days?…what If he doesn’t hit now? Your ideas on Kolton Wong?

…Jose Reyes gets released by Colorado Rockies…viewed as an albatross due to his domestic “issues” (can we never use the word “problem” any more?) with his wife, many view his signing as a PR gamble. The public distaste for spousal abuse makes Reyes damaged goods. Of course, it doesn’t help his cause that his replacement at Colorado, Trevor Story, has been productive. In this case the Rocks will really have to open up wide as they swallow $40mil. How can anyone tell me that ALL MLB teams aren’t making money if a team can walk away from a $40mil commitment?

……Mat Latos gets released by CWS…Latos started this year with 4 brilliant starts .. then his heater has dropped while his ERA has jumped to 7.25…the CWS are willing to eat the remaining part of the $3mil contract to bring in new blood on the mound as their team is sinking fast after a sizzling start(they actually led the AL Cen Div about 3 weeks ago)

….who would have thought that Randal Grichuk wouldn’t make it to the start of summer in the majors… I was really off there….I recall writing…yea…it’d be fine if he hit .270 and 20 HR….ugh….my crystal ball or my eyesight were a bit cloudy on that day… they need to throw him all low-away sliders until he can hit them hard to right field…remember, we aren’t the 1st team to question his”staying ability”… he’s been traded once already

…I enjoyed seeing the Astros & the Rangers (not the results) this week… interleague play provides the chance to see a wider spectrum of players…you had to be impressed with the athleticism and speed of the Rangers…do u lk interleague play… idea..the league that has a better record in interleague competition—should host the world series?

…this year is a new experience for Manifesto…he’s never had a club really struggle for such a long period of time(he is the only MGR to inherit a world championship team)… he’s starting to sound different in his post-game…more defensive with a bit of chip showing…he’s got a long way to go to match Tony TV but he doesn’t appear to be the same guy as when his club was winning…and …who would be? Some of his decisions that may be questioned…his incessant use of the bullpen has worn down some already…he stayed with Grichuk a long time…the baserunning has been suspect..the use of Wong-in & out, in & out, didn’t work out…the infield defense was the weakest it’s been in many decades(should someone replace Diaz in the late innings?)….offensively, the Cards have muscled up for far more dingers than previous years..maybe at the cost of the defense..this Cub series could be..hopefully.. will be… a morale booster for the Cards

 

…When the Cards yanked Rosenthal in the 9th last weekend, it made me wonder about how many other clubs have changed closers. This should be one of the positions that you “tie down” early in your planning stage for the season. Here’s a list of closers at the start of 2016 as compared to the closers at the start of summer, June 20, 2016. The list, apparently, had the “safest” closers at the top and worked their way downwards to the “shakiest”. Now…not all closers have been replaced due to inadequate performance … some have been injured-for the season or a 15 day DL trip… incredibly, about 30% of the closers have changed.

 

          

Closer–                      Start of 2016                          June 20, 2016                  

  1. Royals                   Wade Davis                            Wade Davis
  2. Red Sox                Craig Kimbrel                        Craig Kimbrel
  3. Dodgers               Kenley Jansen                       Kenley Jansen
  4. Orioles                 Zach Britton                          Zach Britton
  5. Yankees                Aroldis Chapman                  Aroldis Chapman
  6. White Sox             David Robertson                   David Robertson
  7. Mets                       Jeurys Familia                       Jeurys Familia
  8. Indians                 Cody Allen                             Cody Allen
  9. Cardinals   Trevor Rosenthal Trevor Rosenthal
  10. Pirates                 Mark Melancon                      Mark Melancon
  11. Astros                Ken Giles                               Will Harris
  12. Angels                 Huston Street                        Huston Street
  13. Twins                   Glen Perkins                          Brandon Kintzler
  14. Cubs   Hector Rondon Hector Rondon
  15. Rangers             Shawn Tolleson                    Sam Dyson
  16. Marlins A.J. Ramos/Carter Capps A.J. Ramos
  17. Rockies               Jake McGee                           Carlos Estevez
  18. Athletics             Sean Doolittle                        Ryan Madson
  19. Tigers                 Francisco Rodriguez            Francisco Rodriguez
  20. D-backs   Brad Ziegler                           Brad Ziegler
  21. Giants                 Santiago Casilla                    Santiago Casilla
  22. Rays             Brad Boxberger                    Alexander Colome
  23. Nationals            Jonathan Papelbon(DL)       Shawn Kelly
  24. Blue Jays            Drew Storen/Roberto Osuna Robert Osuna
  25. Braves                 Jason Grilli                            Arodys Vizcaino
  26. Phillies                David Hernandez                  Jeanmar Gomez
  27. Brewers               Will Smith/Jeremy Jeffress  Jeremy Jeffress
  28. Mariners             Steve Cishek                         Steve Cishek
  29. Padres                Fernando Rodney                 Fernando Rodney
  30. Reds               J.J. Hoover                           Anthonny Cingrani

 

…some closing thoughts

…I wonder if Cishek wanted “out” of the Lou so that he could close again?

…there are some Ol’ guys closing…maybe you need the experience to remain calm in those daily, pressure situations

….I’m thinking that the Cubs are talking to the Yanks about Miller or Chapman…that would seem to be a piece that the Cubbies are missing right now…if I were them…I’d go for it…trade some of those future players…play to win now.

…AJ Ramos is 22 of 22 in save situations

…the Phillies Gomez is out of gas as the Phils fade

…the Brewers Jeffress works about as often for a save as starters do in the rotation!

Speaking of Closing it out….happy Summer Solstice J

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