This was a weird baseball week in terms of the schedule. There were a lot of off-days and short little two-game series, which I actually enjoy because they break the routine a bit. Baseball has a tendency to get monotonous this time of year, so anything that mixing things up is appreciated.
These last four days -- and we're talking about series that were both started and completed sometime between Monday and Thursday -- gave us a pair of excellent individual performances from two of the game's best and most exciting players. Last year Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera battled for the AL MVP, and this week they're battling for out top grade for the week. Unlike the MVP debate, you don't have to wait until after the season for this one to be settled. On to the grades:
|A+||That's right, the rarely seen "A+." Trout deserves it. The 2012 MVP runner-up went 6-for-9 with a double, two triples, a homer and five runs driven in during the Angels' two-game sweep over the Mariners. As you might have heard, he hit for the cycle on Tuesday as well. Trout's production led his team to a two-game sweep over Seattle, but this grade is player-specific. Trout is a marvel.|
Yeah, I'm taking the easy way out and handing out two "As." Cabrera gets the grade by going 3-for-7 with a double, two homers and five runs driven in during the Tigers two-game sweep of the Indians. More importantly, Detroit moved into a tie with the Indians atop the AL Central with the series win. After taking home the Triple Crown in 2012, Cabrera has actually been even better in 2013. His week was awesome, just not as awesome as Trout's.
|C||The Orioles had lost six straight games heading into their three-game set with the Yankees, but they responded by taking two of three from their division rivals. Nate McLouth did the honors on Tuesday with a walk-off homer in the tenth inning, then Chris Davis and Matt Wieters did the damage with multi-run homers on Wednesday. The AL East race is crazy tight, so Baltimore needed to stop the losing streak and get back into the win column in a hurry. Bonus points for doing it against the division leader.|
|D||Arizona opened the week with a one-game lead in the NL West, and they had a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Rockies thanks to their three-game series in Coors Field. Patrick Corbin threw a gem on Monday for the win, but the Diamondbacks followed up two straight loses, including one in extra innings. They left the series in a three-way tie atop the division. Those are the series a team needs to win if they plan on contending, and Arizona dropped the ball despite Corbin's stellar work.|
Losing two of three to the defending World Series Champions is no big deal really. It happens from time to time, just part of baseball. What isn't part of baseball is losing of three and having your closer call out your franchise player for his defensive positioning. Nationals' reliever Rafael Soriano was giving up rockets all over the field, so he's not really in a position to be questioning Bryce Harper, MVP candidate. As the guy in the avocado commercial says, that's bush league bro. Weak.